Senate investigates N258 mln extra-budgetary spending by financial reporting council
Nigerian upper parliamentary chamber, the Senate has begun a probe into an allegation of extra-budgetary spending of N258 million by the Financial Reporting Council on Nigeria (FRCN) as personnel cost in its 2017 budget without the approval of the parliament.
The Senate Public Accounts Committee probe would further investigate the report of the Office of the Auditor-General for the Federation as contained in the 2015 to 2018 AuGF report concerning the agency.
The AuGF query read in part, “We observed from our audit, that the council incurred the sum of N339,834,586.00 as against N81,245,107.00 contained in the 2017 approved budget.
“This resulted in an extra-budgetary expenditure of N258,589,479.00 on personnel cost.
“This non-compliance with the Appropriation Act was due to the failure of the executive secretary to seek approval for supplementary budget from the appropriate authorities, that is, through the Ministry of Finance and National Assembly.”
However, the Executive Secretary of FRC, Daniel Asapokhai, said the extra money spent was to augment the agency’s personnel cost for the fiscal year.
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“For the year 2017, the sum of N81 million was appropriated as government subvention for personnel cost for the council.
“The amount in question was to augment the council’s personnel cost from for the fiscal year in question.
“The council customarily prepares its budget at the beginning of every year detailing both Internally Generated Revenue, and government subvention. This is usually sent for approval before implementation.
“The council has an approved salary structure which it pays from the IGR.
“The amount referenced by the auditors as over expenditures not approved was staff salary funded via IGR which is contained in the approved budget.”
The chairman of the senate committee, Mathew Urhoghide, nevertheless, asked the executive secretary of FRC to present the approval for N258 million extra-budgetary expenditure by the National Assembly.
The executive secretary promised to send the document backing the expenditure to the committee secretariat.
Urhoghide lamented the rampant cases of extra budgetary spending by federal agencies and vowed that his committee would ensure that the practice was checked.
“We will ensure that all cases of extra budgetary spending are thoroughly investigated. It is a matter of constitution that agencies that must spend more than what was approved for them, should revert to the National Assembly.
“Many of the MDAs have not been coming for approval for extra spending and this has to stop,” Urhoghide added.